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BSc Pharmacology with a Modern Language

Year of entry: 2021

Course unit details:
Pharmacology RSM

Unit code BIOL20932
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by School of Biological Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? No


This Research Skills Module is designed to develop your experimental design, report writing and practical skills. You will investigate a range of topics including drug toxicity testing, anaesthesia, computer based molecular modelling and the ethical issues surrounding drug testing on human volunteers. 


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Clinical Drug Development BIOL21302 Co-Requisite Compulsory
BIOL20932 Co-requisite is BIOL21302

BIOL20932 Co-requisite is BIOL21302


To provide practical experience of research methods used in the discovery of drugs, from initial ideas through to full clinical use in man.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand methods used in drug discovery and development
  • Improve technical skills
  • Find and understand information
  • Analyse complex data sets
  • Write scientific reports



•       Radioligand binding assay: competition and saturation binding assay using [3HQNB.

•       Computer methods for drug discovery: prediction of drug potency using molecular modelling software.

•       Practical data analysis: graphing and analysing experimental data using Graphpad Prism software.

•       Schild analysis: students will study the interaction of methacholine and atropine analogues in guinea pig ileum.

•       Human volunteer practical investigating the Scoville test to determine the potency of chilli extracts

•       Nitrous oxide and human performance: in this practical students will be introduced to the ethical considerations and subject care required in volunteer studies.

•       Drug mechanisms in human skin: students will investigate the effects of local anaesthetics on human skin and drug effects on the Lewis Triple Response.

•       Metabolism of paracetamol in human volunteers.

•       Animal tissue practicals.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Extensive data handling and analysis required to write up practicals
Group/team working
All practicals are done in groups
Problem solving
Extensive data handling and analysis required to write up practicals
Research on muscarinic receptors as drug targets is required for the full practical report.Group based oral and written presentations on novel drugs
Written communication
Full Group based oral and written presentations on novel drugs, practical report written in the style of a research papers.
Practical lab skills. Discipline specific laboratory skills, knowledge of drug discovery strategies

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 10%
Written assignment (inc essay) 40%
Project output (not diss/n) 40%
Set exercise 10%
  • Pre-RSM e-assessments mcqs (10%)
  • Short note questions+ lab books (40%)
  • Full practical write-up (40%)
  • Reflective exercise (10%)

RSM Attendance guidelines

Students are expected to attend all scheduled RSM sessions on time (N.B. Health and safety information will be delivered at the start of practical sessions, and students who are not present at the start may be asked to leave the lab). Students who arrive late will be marked as absent for that session.

Failure to attend a session (an unauthorised absence) will result in a 10% (i.e. 10 mark) penalty being applied to the overall RSM mark (i.e. a student obtaining a mark of 65% overall will instead receive a mark of 55%). Furthermore, any students who miss a practical session will not receive a mark for any associated post-lab assessment (N.B. this mark will be removed before calculating the average post-lab mark to avoid a student being penalised twice).

Further absences will result in further penalties (i.e. 2 absences = a penalty of 20% (as described above)).

Feedback methods

Feedback will be provided via annotated practical write-ups and verbal advice on practical techniques during classes.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Practical classes & workshops 43
Independent study hours
Independent study 57

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Richard Prince Unit coordinator

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